An unplanned pregnancy can be scary, and you may not know where to turn. But if you live in northern Idaho (including, but not limited to Hayden, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Rathdrum, Athol, Spirit Lake, Worley), help is close by. You can get pregnancy help at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic.
If you believe you are pregnant, come to the clinic and take a test. Your visit is confidential, and a pregnancy test won’t cost you anything. Our medical grade testing is not the same as over-the-counter drugstore tests, which can yield incorrect results if not taken at the right time or in the right way. We use lab-quality testing – similar to established obstetricians.
If your pregnancy is confirmed, you can take the next steps. You can schedule a limited obstetric ultrasound with us to determine if your pregnancy is viable, or you can speak to one of our lay counselors about your options. Alternatively, we encourage you to talk to your partner and other trusted friends or family members. People who love you and know you well can assist you as you make decisions about your future.
If you are worried about speaking to the father of the baby, one of the lay counselors at Open Arms Real Choices Clinic will be ready to listen to your story and provide support. We can also provide you with vital information about pregnancy-related topics, such as helping you understand the changes occurring in your body and how those changes may affect you.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
It’s okay to be emotional if you’ve just discovered you’re pregnant. Processing your emotions is essential, and you should have an outlet to vent your feelings rather than keep them bottled up inside. Our lay counselors are here to listen; you can rest assured that they won’t judge you. We are only here to listen and will provide advice if you want it.
Be aware that your feelings may not be what you expect. Our emotions don’t necessarily follow the patterns we might expect when involved in a particular situation, rather than “on the outside looking in.” It may take you a while to figure out why you are feeling what you feel and what you are most worried about. The important thing is to give yourself time to work through the emotional period to get to a stage where you can think clearly. You will only make good decisions when your mind is calm and clear, not in a panic.
Make the Right Choice
Although you might feel overwhelmed, you have options. You are stronger than you think, and even if your pregnancy means that your life will be different from how you imagined it, different can sometimes mean better.
If you want to take care of your baby, you can find a way, no matter what you think now. There are people and resources ready to help you, and the staff at Open Arms can help you organize and access it. Money shouldn’t be the reason you’re forced to give up your baby; let us know if you’re struggling financially. We can connect you to referral sources and charities that offer support. We also run a children’s boutique with new and used clothing.
Remember, you are not the only one who has had this experience. You don’t need to figure it out by yourself; you can learn from others who have already walked the same path.
We can also connect you with social support. In addition to one-to-one appointments, we offer group classes for parents who feel alone and want to meet others in the same situation. During these sessions, you can learn how to take care of yourself during pregnancy, look after your baby once it is born, and strengthen your relationship with your family, friends, and, if appropriate, your partner.
You may also want to consider whether placing your baby with an adoptive family would be better. There are many kinds of adoptions. Some are completely open, so you can contact the adoptive parents and get updates about your child. Others are closed, meaning you won’t have contact with the child. You can even choose the adoptive parents if you already have someone in mind. The decision is yours, and we can help you with arrangements.
The only way you can make a good decision that you will be comfortable with now and long into the future is by giving yourself the information necessary to understand your options and the time to think your decision through.
If you think you may be pregnant or have a partner or friend who is pregnant and you don’t know what to do, contact Open Arms Real Choices Clinic. We can help you find your answers.